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  • Posted by: Michael Mitchell on Tuesday, March 18 2014 04:22 PM | Comments (0)
    The Art of Storutelling

    We know that words matter. They have an incredible power to move people, and when used thoughtfully—even poetically—they can change the way people experience brands.

    For example, there’s something poetic about Volkswagen’s 2013 campaign encouraging us not to text and drive. In one ad, a nearly blank page simply says, “See you n…” —cleverly incorporating auto-correct to anticipate the last word as either “now” or “never.” It’s a powerful use of four words to tell a story, affect behavior and solve a problem.

    If design thinking is how brands can use design to solve problems, perhaps poetic thinking is how brands can use language to solve problems.

    The suggestion is not that brands begin speaking in iambic pentameter. But, if we craft a brand's language to be as poetic as its design is artful, we can have a significant impact. As our new article on the art of effective storytelling notes, the key is “finding that balance between having a living and breathing expression while still remaining true to the core what, how and why of a brand.”

    Artful language helped HSBC claim the second highest rank of any financial services brand on Interbrand’s latest Best Global Brands report. Delivering on their positioning as “the world’s local bank,” their iconic advertisements featuring a single word seen from multiple perspectives was a sublimely poetic way for a bank to raise its brand value by conveying understanding, empathy and humanity.

    In an equally poignant mix of design and poetic thinking, an Asian non-profit, Samaritans of Singapore, promoted their crises-prevention services by crafting phrases that convey different messages from different angles. These heartfelt ads show that depression can hide in plain sight, reading, “I feel fantastic” when right-side up, and “I’m falling apart” when upside down.

    The thoughtful use of language is essential to helping brands express an emotionally engaging, strategically consistent and differentiated point of view. When combined correctly, an inventive piece of design coupled with a poetic turn of phrase can move hearts—and business margins—in powerful, world-changing ways.

    For more on crafting language and story to elevate brand communications, download our new article on “The Art of Storytelling.”

    Michael Mitchell is a Senior Consultant, Verbal Identity, at Interbrand Singapore.

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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Wednesday, February 19 2014 05:26 PM | Comments (0)
    Credendo Group

    Emerging from the tumult of WWI, The Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs created Delcredere Committee in 1921. The world’s second-oldest credit insurer fostered international trade relations amid political risks.

    Throughout the company’s storied history, the company has seen incredible growth. From becoming Office National du Ducroire | Nationale Delcrederedienst in 1939, or ONDD for short, to expanding across Europe with joint ventures, new branches and investments in the last decade, ONDD was now facing complex challenges as a master brand.

    With diverse sub-brands, a clear brand architecture was needed. Partnering with Interbrand to create a brand positioning that would differentiate ONDD in the industry, be forward-looking and communicate its focus on customers, an extensive research process was undertaken.

    With both internal and external insights, a solid picture of the brand’s strengths emerged. “Turning Uncertainties into Opportunities,” became the centerpiece of the new brand definition.

    Building on the brand’s history and paving the way for its future, compelling new brand positioning called for an equally compelling name. ONDD’s dual name, Ducroire | Delcredere, the French and Flemish, represent Belgian traditions. This duality inspired the crafting of a name forged from the Latin roots for “belief” and “credit” that could create a unified and dynamic masterbrand: Credendo.

    With a powerful name and definition, a strong visual identity was needed. Speaking to its customer-focused approach, the new logo evokes a sense of custom tailoring with a stitching effect, warm colors and a sophisticated feel.

    Credendo's website timeline notes the rebranding: “Consolidation as the Credendo Group, more powerfully articulating the shared values, approach and strength of its companies.”

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  • Posted by: Interbrand São Paulo on Tuesday, February 18 2014 05:38 PM | Comments (0)


    One of the most fun projects the team in Interbrand’s São Paulo office worked on recently was creating the new positioning and identity for Netshoes. A brand that began here in São Paulo, this Brazilian sporting goods brand has grown to see $1.5 billion in revenue.

    With 16 million monthly visitors to its site and 5% of its sales coming from mobile, Netshoes has clearly become an e-commerce leader. A strategic partner of Nike, Adidas and Facebook, according to Google Trends, the brand is more searched on Google Brazil than even Nike or Adidas.

    Although a strong and growing brand, Netshoes was facing a perception issue. Consumers still weren’t seeing the brand as sports specialists. Interbrand was called in to turn this around.

    To best meet the challenges of this exciting project, multiple practice areas in the São Paulo office came together to work collaboratively. Strategy, design and verbal identity worked to define a new positioning for Netshoes, putting sports first.

    We defined a new language for the brand, communicating with athletes, both professional or amateur. Visually, a radical change was made, infusing much more color into the design to convey dynamic energy and motion.

    Netshoes' Visual Identity

    Netshoes' Verbal Identity

    As can be seen here, the new visual identity, with its vivid color palette, is full of energy, embodying athleticism and allowing the brand to stand out in the digital world.

    Netshoes' Verbal and Visual Identity

    Netshoes' Verbal Identity

    The verbal identity creates a direct connection to athletes. With agility and creativity, a conversation about sports is clearly created.

    The strategic, visual and verbal work all creates a brand positioning that conveys movement and speed. The brand speaks of performance, harmony and well-being. Thus, every athlete is welcome.

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  • Posted by: Jerome McDonnell and Ilan Beesen on Wednesday, April 17 2013 01:09 PM | Comments (0)


    Spearheading a Stronger Brand

    Thanks a billion: Making names pay

    Words are free. Well, they start out free, anyway. When developing a new name for a product, service, or business, it's easy to window-shop, imagining how your brand might look wearing this word or that. Then the search gets serious, and you spend time and creative effort to find ones that represent your business accurately. An investment in linguistic and validation research follows, and the ever-important trademark registration. At what point, exactly, does a word transform from a handful of letters into a valuable asset that's synonymous with the brand it represents?

    It takes time and investment to turn a word into a widely recognized brand, but it can pay off handsomely. Forbes noted that names can come to comprise a major portion of a business's total valuation: "'Google,' 'Walmart' and 'Microsoft'—all trademarked names—represent a significant chunk of their owners' overall worth." This means, potentially, billions of dollars.

    And the equity in a name goes beyond dollar signs. It has the power to inspire, to differentiate, to help your audiences understand that you're the right choice. It's a simple sound, a few syllables, yet it can have the power to move markets.

    Then: Then Again: Now:

    So how did the journey from "apple" to Apple™ happen? A word becomes a billion-dollar asset when iconic products are combined with concerted brand-building efforts. This special mixture yields value—a value that's captured in the name. As that value grows, so does the need to protect the name from misuse and outright piracy. Enter trademark legal.

    Brands and trademarks are often considered synonymous. They're related, but far from the same. You can register a trademark and not have a valuable brand, but it's impossible to build a valuable brand without owning its trademark.

    Trademarks are the quickest, most cost-effective way to ensure your name is exclusively yours. As every brand owner knows, differentiation is key. As the value of your brand and name grows, it's the power of the trademark that keeps would-be infringers at bay. For this reason, "the strength of its trademark defines the power of your brand."

    Owning a trademark doesn't guarantee your name or the brand behind it will become a billion-dollar asset. But it does provide the legal foundation on which you can build a free word into a prized aspect of your brand's identity.

    This week's guest authors are Jerome McDonnell, Global Trademark Director, and Ilan Beesen, Senior Consultant, Verbal Identity.

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  • Posted by: Caitlin Barrett on Wednesday, March 20 2013 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

    All Systems Go

    Freedom of—and from—choice

    We live in a choice-mad world. Choice is part of personal expression. The way we customize, upgrade, and add-on tells people something about who we are. Our choices are badges—Mac or PC, dog or cat, Coke or Pepsi—and we can't help but feel more invested in something when we've picked it ourselves.

    What about when you can't see the product for the names—when too much choice is actually hurting you in the market? When it comes to brands, the amount of choice they present has a powerful impact on the way people understand what they offer.

    Limitless choice sounds like a beautiful concept until you're handed a 20-page spiral bound menu at a diner and asked to hurry up. Contrast that with a single-page tasting menu at a high-end restaurant. There might be no choice at that point. You're going to eat what the chef serves, but in all likelihood you made a choice to go to that restaurant for that very reason. The curation and the expertise behind the menu make the highly limited option the best one.

    Of course there's no magic formula for deciding how much choice is right for customers in your category, but a naming system helps them sort through your offerings in a meaningful way. When like things are named in a like way, and grouped based on principles that are intuitive to the customer experience and authentic to the brand, it's easier for your audiences to zero in on exactly what they want. What a beautiful choice.

    Developing a naming system for your brand is a challenge when you're crafting it from scratch. It's even more daunting when you're designing something for a long-standing portfolio (especially one that's picked up a few acquisitions along the way). We've summarized the top nine things to think about when coming up with your naming system at the right in All Systems Go.

    This week's guest author, Caitlin Barrett, is Associate Director of Verbal Identity for Interbrand and the creative lead for Naming.

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